Amy and David Lamon watched home burn, live on TV.
The couple had evacuated to a friend’s house as smoke from the Tick Fire encroached on their home in Santa Clarita, California on Friday, and watched their own home burned on the local news.
When they made it back to their house on Sunday, little was left. Remarkably, among the charred remains of what had been their house, Amy Lamon, 46, found her wedding ring. “Everything was tipped over, and it was just standing there,” she said, holding a jewelry box that somehow been untouched by the flames.
In addition to fighting the flames, firefighters pulled family pictures off the walls and hauled them and other mementos in recycling bins outside the Lamon’s home.
“In this room, nothing made it,” said David Lamon, 48. “That’s our foundation, the concrete. So it burned down, burned our whole floor and everything.”
The fire started last Thursday and picked up force Friday. Firefighters say it’s now about 80 percent contained but not before it burned down 24 houses and damaged 40 more. But the Tick Fire is just one of ten active wildfires burning in California. And Tuesday’s high winds are expected to make them worse could make them worse.
The National Weather Service issued “red flag” warnings across the state, and Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency on Sunday. In northern California, the Kincade Fire has torched nearly 75,000 acres and destroyed more than 100 buildings.
More than 10,000 buildings, including houses, are inside the evacuation zone around the Getty Fire in the Los Angeles area.
What’s more, PG&E, the state’s largest electrical utility company announced another round of power shutoffs, which could affect as many as 2 million people. And dealing with fire in the dark makes things that much more difficult.
“If we had electricity, things would have been different,” David Lamon said. “When you shut off our power, you shut off our water. And when you shut off our water, you shut off our ability to protect our homes and to protect ourselves.”
Video edited by Danny Card
Cover: David and Amy Lamon return to their home destroyed by the Tick Fire in Santa Clarita, Calif. (Photo: Jeff Mercado/VICE News)